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Collecting History through Ancient Coins

Holding an ancient coin is holding history in your hands. Some coins actually depict historical events. Many include the image of a historic king or emperor. Every ancient coin relates to the people and events of the time and place it was struck. Every ancient coin relates to an interesting historical story. The stories on this page are a primary source of our ancient coin obsession. We hope you enjoy them.

Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||eight| |prutot|
This coin was "professionally cleaned and conserved" in Israel. Although it is beautiful, to the educated eye, the patina does not look natural. It is "enhanced" or "applied." Enhanced or applied patinas are not tragic. Coins with enhanced or applied patinas often sell for very high prices. We prefer a beautiful natural patina, but mother nature does not always comply. At Forum Ancient Coins, if we believe a patina has been enhanced or applied, we will include that in the coin's description.
JD97652. Bronze eight prutot, Meshorer TJC 36; Hendin 1162; Sofaer 418 ff; SNG ANS 183 ff.; BMC Palestine p. 212, 2 ff.; SNG Cop 64; HGC 10 646 (S), VF, enhanced/applied desert patina, reverse a little off center and weakly struck, weight 13.727 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription: Mattatayah the High Priest and Council of the Jews, around and between the horns of a double cornucopia; reverse BACIΛEΩC ANTIΓONOY (of King Antigonus), ivy wreath tied at the top with ribbons hanging down; from an Israeli collection; scarce; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00


Judean Kingdom, Mattathias Antigonus (Mattatayah), 40 - 37 B.C.

|Mattathias| |Antigonus|, |Judean| |Kingdom,| |Mattathias| |Antigonus| |(Mattatayah),| |40| |-| |37| |B.C.||prutah|
Parthia took Judaea in 40 B.C. and made Mattathias Antigonus their vassal King. Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus II's ears to render him ineligible for High Priest and sent him to Babylon in chains. Herod fled to Rome but returned with Roman support and took Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Dio Cassius says Antigonus was crucified but most accounts say he was beheaded.

On this type the inscription is almost always retrograde. The Paleo-Hebrew inscription reads, in two retrograde lines, from left to right: MTT/(YH) (Mattatayah). On this coin the last two letter, the second line, is ligate (combined like a monogram). See Reading Judean Coins in NumisWiki.
JD97659. Bronze prutah, Meshorer TJC 40a, Sofaer Collection 444, HGC 10 649, Hendin 1164 var. (no ligature), SNG ANS 192 var. (same), BMC Palestine p. 219, 57 var. (same), F, highlighting earthen deposits, a little rough, reverse off center, weight 1.655 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 40 - 37 B.C.; obverse retrograde Paleo-Hebrew inscription in two lines: MTT/(YH) = Mattatayah (last two letters ligate), surrounded by wreath and border of dots; reverse double cornucopia adorned with ribbons, barley ear between horns, border of dots; from an Israeli collection; rare variant; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt,| |66| |-| |70| |A.D.||prutah|
By 68, Jewish resistance in the north had been crushed. Vespasian made Caesarea Maritima his headquarters and methodically proceeded to clear the coast. In the winter of 68, Titus set up camp at Jericho and cut off escape routes toward Jerusalem.
JD98160. Bronze prutah, Kadman III 12; Meshorer TJC 196, Hendin 1360; SNG ANS 427; Sofaer Collection pl. 222, 11, VF, highlighting earthen deposits (desert patina), reverse a little off center, obverse edge beveled, weight 3.028 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 150o, Jerusalem mint, year 2, 67 - 68 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew: Year two, amphora with fluted body, narrow neck, broad rim, and two small curved handles; reverse Paleo-Hebrew: The freedom of Zion, vine leaf on small branch with tendril; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius, Blaundos, Lydia

|Other| |Lydia|, |Faustina| |Junior,| |Augusta| |146| |-| |Winter| |175/176| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |Blaundos,| |Lydia||hemiassarion|
The ruins of Blaundos' ancient gateway and a temple are located at modern Sülümenli, Uşak, Turkey. On the earliest coins of the city, the name was written Mlaundos.
RP97253. Bronze hemiassarion, GRPCL I 115; RPC online 1189; BMC Lydia 77; SNG Cop 93, SNG Munchen 92, SNG Leypold 923, Mionnet IV 115, Winterthur 3721, SNGvA -, VF, green patina, slightly rough, tiny edge cracks, rev. slightly off center, weight 3.748 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Blaundos (Sülümenli, Uşak, Turkey) mint, 152 - 176 A.D.; obverse ΦAVCTEINA CEBATH, draped bust right, hair in a bun behind neck; reverse BΛAVN∆EΩN, Demeter standing facing, veiled head left, poppy and two stalks of grain in extended right hand, long torch in left hand; ex Leu Numismatik auction 12 (30 May 2020), lot 839; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


FORVM The First Jewish Revolt 66 - 70 AD

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |FORVM| |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt| |66| |-| |70| |AD||prutah|
In 69 A.D., Vespasian began to lay siege to Jerusalem, the city ws captured the following year by his son Titus. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
JD97729. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1363; Meshorer TJC 204; SNG ANS 446; Sofaer Collection pl. 223, 31, VF, nice blue-green patina, tight flan and uneven strike leaving much of legends weak/of flan, irregular edge from pre-strike sprue removal, weight 2.577 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, year 3, 68 - 69 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew: Year three, amphora with fluted body, narrow neck, broad rim, two handles, and conical fluted lid decorated with tiny globule at peak and row of tiny globules around edge; reverse Paleo-Hebrew: The freedom of Zion, vine leaf on small branch with tendril; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217, Rabbathmoba, Arabia

|Roman| |Arabia|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta,| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217,| |Rabbathmoba,| |Arabia||AE| |31|
Rabbathmoba (also called Areopolis or Aresopolis), on the Karak plateau, was probably the Biblical Ir-Moab conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan. Rabbath-Moba minted coins during the reigns of the Severan emperors between 193 and 222 A.D.
RY94929. Bronze AE 31, Sofaer 10 (same dies); cf. Spijkerman p. 268, 18 (dated PE); Meshorer City Coins 271; SNG ANS -; Rosenberger IV -, F, dark green patina, scratches, pit on reverse, irregular flan edge, weight 14.582 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rabbathmoba (near Kerak, Jordan) mint, c. 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse IOYΛIA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse PABBAΘMΩBA, cult statue of Ares standing facing in military dress on a high base with pilasters, short sword erect in right hand, spear and round shield in left hand, base flanked on each side by a flaming altar, no date; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Fecunditas (Latin: "fecundity, fertility") was the goddess of fertility. She was portrayed as a matron, sometimes holding a cornucopia or a hasta pura, with children in her arms or standing next to her.
RS94690. Silver denarius, RSC III 6, RIC IV 332, BMCRE VI 913, SRCV II 8208, Hunter III -, gVF, dark as-found hoard toning, excellent portrait, flow lines, tight flan, some light corrosion, small edge cracks, weight 1.334 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 232 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, with looped plait at the back of neck; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas enthroned left, reaching out with her right hand to small boy standing before her nude with hands raised, left arm on chair; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|
Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, preoccupied with her loss and her grief, the seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because Proserpina had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. It was decreed that she must spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RS94715. Silver denarius, RIC IV S546 (S), RSC III 14, BMCRE V S10, Hunter III 7, SRCV II 6576, VF, light toning, radiating flow lines, bumps and light scratches, rev. a little off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 1.904 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 200 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse CERERI FRVGIF, Ceres seated left, right leg drawn back, stalks of grain in right hand, long torch in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


The First Jewish Revolt, 66 - 70 A.D.

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt,| |66| |-| |70| |A.D.||prutah|
Vespasian, along with legions X Fretensis and V Macedonica, landed at Ptolemais in April 67. There he was joined by his son Titus, who arrived from Alexandria at the head of Legio XV Apollinaris, as well as by the armies of various local allies including that of King Agrippa II. Fielding more than 60,000 soldiers, Vespasian began operations by subjugating Galilee. Many towns gave up without a fight, although others had to be taken by force. Of these, Josephus provides detailed accounts of the sieges of Yodfat and Gamla. By the year 68, Jewish resistance in the north had been crushed, and Vespasian made Caesarea Maritima his headquarters and methodically proceeded to clear the coast. -- Wikipedia
JD97723. Bronze prutah, Kadman III 12; Meshorer TJC 196a, Hendin 1360; SNG ANS 427; Sofaer Collection pl. 222, 11, aVF, green patina, uneven strike with part of legends weak, earthen encrustations, remnants of pre-strike casting sprues, weight 2.502 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Jerusalem mint, year 2, 67 - 68 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew: Year two, amphora with fluted body, narrow neck, broad rim, and two small curved handles; reverse Paleo-Hebrew: The freedom of Zion, vine leaf on small branch with tendril; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


FORVM The First Jewish Revolt 66 - 70 AD

|First| |Jewish| |Revolt|, |FORVM| |The| |First| |Jewish| |Revolt| |66| |-| |70| |AD||prutah|
In 69 A.D., Vespasian began to lay siege to Jerusalem, the city ws captured the following year by his son Titus. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
JD97731. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1363; Meshorer TJC 204; SNG ANS 446; Sofaer Collection pl. 223, 31, gF, attractive patina, tight flan, weak strike, obverse edge beveled, traces of pre-strike casting sprues, weight 2.599 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 135o, Jerusalem mint, year 3, 68 - 69 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew: Year three, amphora with fluted body, narrow neck, broad rim, two handles, and conical fluted lid decorated with tiny globule at peak and row of tiny globules around edge; reverse Paleo-Hebrew: The freedom of Zion, vine leaf on small branch with tendril; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00




  



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